Wednesday, November 22, 2017
News Roundup

After effort to raise gas tax fails, Pasco County commissioners put off new road projects

RECOMMENDED READING


NEW PORT RICHEY — Potholes will still get patched and dirt roads will get regraded, even though Pasco County commissioners rejected an increase in the gasoline tax earlier this month.

But 12 road projects will get postponed or moved off of the county's 15-year plan altogether.

"This is going to be a mess," County Commissioner Pat Mulieri lamented Tuesday when she learned that improvements to Twenty Mile Level Road, from County Road 54 to Collier Parkway, were cut from the plan.

That's why staff proposed increasing the tax, Deborah Bolduc, program administrator for engineering services, reminded the commissioners.

Also on the chopping block were Chancey Parkway, from Fox Ridge to Morris Bridge Road; Collier Parkway, from Parkway Boulevard to Ehren Cutoff; Trinity Boulevard, from Little Road to State Road 54; and County Line Road North, from East Road to Springtime Street.

Delayed projects included the Zephyrhills Bypass Extension, phases 3 and 4, which run from west of River Glen Boulevard to west of Dean Dairy Road; CR 54, from SR 56 to Progress Parkway Boulevard; Decubellis Road, from west of Starkey Boulevard to south of Town Center Road; Starkey Boulevard, from River Crossing Boulevard to Decubellis Road; Decubellis Road, from Little Road to Starkey Boulevard, and Moon Lake Road, from Decubellis Road to SR 52.

Commissioners swallowed the bitter pill, but took comfort in the fact that funding methods would be discussed again.

"We haven't given up on the capital plan," Assistant County Attorney David Goldstein said. The county also is set to re-examine mobility fees, which are charged to new construction to help pay for transportation caused by growth. However, it may have to revisit its policy of not charging the fees in west or south Pasco.

Gas tax increases may be considered each year. But they require a "supermajority," or greater than a simple majority, for approval. Commissioners Jack Mariano and Henry Wilson Jr. opposed this year's proposal to raise gas taxes by 5 cents a gallon. The county already levies 7 cents per gallon.

In pressing for the increase, staff said that money for streetlights, mowing and repairs dwindled because of budget cuts and homeowners' failure to pay residential street-paving charges.

But now, the reallocation of gas taxes results in a $4.7 million budget for road maintenance.

Commission Chairman Ted Schrader warned that continuing not to increase revenue will result in hazardous conditions.

"We have to maintain what we have," he said.

Comments
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

ST. PETERSBURG — After six years of negotiations, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air and its flight attendant union reached a tentative contract to improve worker pay and benefits and solidify airline policies."We feel like it’s an agreement that is certa...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

When it comes to weighing the options for regulating medical marijuana through the law passed this year, Dunedin city commissioners declared local governments face a "conundrum" and "a false dilemma."They said they would welcome a dispensary in the c...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
What’s in theaters for Thanksgiving: ‘Coco,’ ‘Last Flag Flying,’ ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

What’s in theaters for Thanksgiving: ‘Coco,’ ‘Last Flag Flying,’ ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

NOW IN THEATERS:COCODisney-Pixar’s animated dramedy Coco (PG) is inspired by Mexico’s annual Dia de los Muertos, the "day of the dead" when departed ancestors are celebrated. Good for diversity, although the movie isn’t as good as its intentions.Migu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Future of Hernando Beach water tower up in the air

Future of Hernando Beach water tower up in the air

HERNANDO BEACH — Perched high above the coastal neighborhood, the water tower at Hernando Beach has been a unique watchman and highly visible welcome sign for drivers and boaters although it has not held water for years.Now there is some question abo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

A former Brooksville school volunteer accused of sexually assaulting teenage foreign exchange students who were under his care was found dead last week, a day before he was due in court on the charges.The body of Bruce McAllister was found at the bas...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pasco students score big at Junior Thespian Festival

Pasco students score big at Junior Thespian Festival

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco schools brought home 20 top honors from the District 11 Junior Thespian Festival, which included 22 schools from Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Manatee counties and took place at the new River Ridge FAME Academy on Nov. 17 and ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 2 hours ago
University of Tampa volleyball finds playoff form in time

University of Tampa volleyball finds playoff form in time

TAMPA — Earning an NCAA Tournament bid is usually not cause for celebration with the University of Tampa volleyball program. It has become routine.But after hitting the abyss of a 3-10 record, after players felt their confidence was shot, after coach...
Updated: 2 hours ago